The New International Encyclopædia/Nebo

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NE′BO (from Bab. nabū, to call, name, proclaim). A deity of the Babylonians and Assyrians, mentioned in Isaiah xlvi. 1. The name also occurs in the Old Testament as a geographical term. (See Nebo, Mount.) In cuneiform literature the form is Nabu or Nabium. After Babylon became the centre of the Babylonian Empire, Nebo took rank immediately after Marduk (see Merodach), the head of the pantheon. He appears originally to have been the local patron deity of Borsippa, opposite the ancient city of Babylon, and there are grounds for believing that Borsippa was older than Babylon. This may have been one reason for the prominence which Nebo retained beside the powerful Marduk. In time Borsippa became a suburb of Babylon and the union between the two was symbolized by erecting a shrine to Nebo in Marduk's temple at Babylon to which Nebo was carried in solemn procession on the New Year's Day, while the statue of Marduk was on the return trip carried part way back to E-zida (‘the true house’), Nebo's temple in Borsippa. To express further the relationship to Marduk, Nebo was regarded as the son of Marduk. Originally an agricultural deity, Nebo became in time the god of wisdom, and it is in this capacity that he was chiefly worshiped by the Assyrians. To Nebo and his consort Tashmitum Assyrian rulers ascribe the art of writing on stone and tablets, and all learning is eventually traced back to him. In this respect he supplanted an earlier god of wisdom, Ea, whose cult reaches back to a still higher antiquity than that of Nebo or Marduk. Consult Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, 1898).